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Are All Freighter Fleets Facing Even Further Decline?
Reports in the U.S. press more or less confirmed what has been rumored now for some time. Namely, that yet another “all cargo carrier“ will bite the dust.
Last Friday‘s news that Evergreen International Airlines will close up shop as of November 29, came as a shock, but not an unexpected one.
U.S. cargo carriers have been highly dependent on contracts given to them by the U.S. military for transporting equipment to and from the military hotspots in the Middle East and Afghanistan. Some of them such as World Airways have also been greatly involved with the transport of troops into and out of these regions.
This, once lucrative aircraft deployment is fast coming to an end and leaves the carriers with the dilemma of what to do with their fleets.
It presently makes no sense for them to consider joining back into the commercial cargo transport arena. This is full of carriers, with and without freighter fleets, jostling for a part of the cake which can assume more or less acceptable revenues.
Evergreen, which in the past operated a larger fleet, presently operates only 3 Boeing 747-400 freighters and it seems that the wind down of military activities during the past twelve months has finally put its stamp on these aircraft.
Evergreen‘s CEO, Delford Smith, issued a statement last Friday which more or less admitted to the immense rundown in military contracts and that Evergreen‘s management “has moved to aggressively address these challenges“ and that “rumors that a decision has been made to cease operations at this time are false.“
What else can he say!
The recent sell off of the Evergreen International Aviation helicopter division as well as former employee statements that the cargo arm has been laying off staff and works only with a „skeleton crew,“ don‘t shed much light on a hopeful future.
It‘s been an eventful and tragic past twelve months for many freighter operators which surely goes to show that the freighter fleets are on the way out.
What will happen with those remaining such as World Airways, Kalitta and even the (still) stalwarts, Cargolux and AirBridge Cargo?
Author: John Mc Donagh
(Cargo Forwarder vom 12.11.2013)